- Easy-to-use application, free
- Video quality is variable
Though you won't mistake a SightSpeed video call for a movie, the quality is good. Unlike PC-calling apps like Skype that have added video features, SightSpeed's focus has been on video from the start -- and it shows.
This easy-to-use, no-cost application offers good-quality videoconferencing and calling.
Videoconferencing software has come a long way since the late 1990s, when unsophisticated programs and limited bandwidth made participants sound and look like astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle; we often expected to see a coffee mug float across the screen. Not anymore. We tested the new video-calling app SightSpeed 6.0, and though its video quality wasn't perfect, its performance -- especially its ability to sync audio and video -- was impressive.
SightSpeed is available in two versions, a free edition and a Pro package; the latter review (Business) adds features designed for business users, such as multiparty video calls and priority tech support. Both versions require a webcam and devices for audio input (microphone) and output (speakers or a headset). To try it out, we used various combinations of speakers, webcams with integrated microphones, and headsets with embedded microphones.
Downloading and installing the software is a snap. It automatically locates your audio and video source, and helps you adjust their settings for peak performance. After the initial setup, you can tweak the settings, but unfortunately you can't do so when you're on a call. So if you're in the middle of a conversation and you notice, for example, that the tint of your camera is slightly off, you have to hang up before you can correct the problem.
Version 6.0 sports a new tabbed interface for access to all of SightSpeed's features. To add a contact, you simply enter an e-mail address on the Contacts tab; if the person is already a SightSpeed user, you'll see their name appear on your list. If the person isn't a user, SightSpeed will issue an e-mail invitation to download the software. All of your contacts are listed on the main screen, with a green icon indicating when they are available. When you mouse over a name, you'll see icons for connecting via video call, PC-to-PC voice call, or text chat; you'll also see expanded call controls at the bottom of the screen. In addition, you can send video e-mail to your contacts.
A pop-up window notifies you of incoming calls; simply click Answer, and you're connected. SightSpeed says that the video quality in version 6.0 is 25 per cent better than that of past versions. We can't verify that claim, but we can say that, overall, the video was quite good, though some colours looked washed out and the video appeared blocky at times. When we tested SightSpeed at home over a cable modem, the video seemed very clear (with no weightless objects tumbling by in the background). When we tested it on a busier office network, though, the video appeared noticeably pixelated, and the audio was garbled. After network traffic subsided, both the video and audio improved substantially. Both were in sync, too, though our caller noticed an echo when we used a speaker-and-microphone setup. This likely occurred because our microphone picked up her voice coming out from our speakers, allowing her to hear her own words shortly after speaking them. The problem disappeared when we switched to a headset.
The quality of SightSpeed's PC-to-PC voice calls is on par with that of services like Skype. In version 6.0, the text-chat feature is contained in its own window, which makes it feel more like a stand-alone IM app (though you can chat only with other SightSpeed users).
The app also lets you record brief video clips that you can send as messages or embed in blogs or other Web pages. The free version allows you to make clips of up to 30 seconds in length, while the Pro version permits 180-second videos. The Pro software lets you record live calls for later reference.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'
- Village Roadshow aims to block 40 pirate sites
- Analysts peer into Microsoft's rumored Windows 10 Cloud
- Google lets users get social with Maps
- Microsoft unveils a bonanza of security capabilities
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- CCArcSight Security Engineer - Contract - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)ACT
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst AO7QLD
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- CCProgram ManagerVIC
- TPBI & Report Developer (SQL Developer)QLD
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Silverlight proficiencyVIC
- FTBI Developer l Microstrategy , HadoopNSW
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD